Striking a balance between health and economy

I have been trying to plan our vacation to Grand Cayman. We are frequent travellers to the Cayman Islands and looked forward to celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary there, just like we did our first.

As an elected public official of a tourist town in the US, I have great empathy for the decisions the officials there have to make. We have had to shut down our businesses as well during the pandemic, while under great pressure.

However, we realised early on that maintaining a zero infection rate would cripple our businesses and put many out of business forever.

We found a balance. Once we had our first responders, and medical and emergency personnel vaccinated, we opened with strategic measures in place. This past weekend our beaches were absolutely packed. Our restaurants full, our hotels sold out. Our economy is booming. With our vaccination rate around 50%, plus those already recovered having antibodies, we seem to be near herd immunity. Our infection rate is small, but not zero.

When I inquired about our travel, I was basically told that our documents issued by our vaccine providers are not verifiable. Although I can show my vaccine records in the phone app from our private provider as well as the hand-signed card from the medical personnel, it was not good enough.

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In the US, medical treatment is generally provided by private practitioners and it is generally frowned upon to allow the government to access your personal health info. Personal privacy is considered paramount and our legal system and laws protect it. I’m not to imply one way is right or wrong, only that your policies basically cut off the United States from visiting.

If I were to project your policies onto our community we would undoubtedly have an economic catastrophe. Many are barely able to recover even as it is our high season. We gave them subsidies, but it was just enough to survive.

We love the Cayman Islands and we will support your wishes to protect your people. However, we do believe that these policies will take a terrible toll on the business community and fear many won’t survive.

Albert Barbee

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